The Cost Of A Cheap Antenna Installation

When it comes to getting an antenna installed, most people’s thought process is that “it’s just bolting an antenna to the roof, right?”.

So, naturally, coming in with that mindset will make you price conscious and getting the cheapest quote can be as easy as calling a few antenna installers that you looked up on Google.

But ask yourself; what are you paying for?

Prices to supply and install an antenna can vary from as little as $120 to as high as $450.

In order for a low price to be given, there has to be a compromise.

When getting quotes, the cheap and cheerful installers may be offering deals that look like extremely good value, however, most people never see the damage and problems that can be caused in the long term by hiring a cheap antenna installer.

How can others provide a cheap antenna installation?

Time – We have all heard the old saying, “Time is money” and this applies to hiring an antenna installer.  If an installer is offering his services at a very cheap price, he needs to make his profits on quantity, rather than quality, so less time will often be allocated to doing a proper job, and may result in broken tiles, poor fitting wallplates or damage done to walls and roofs from a rushed job.

Materials – A great way to lower the price of an install is to use cheap Chinese antennas that will not last, screws that will rust within weeks and poor quality mounting equipment.  A good quality TV antenna should last at least 10 years, currently, we are having to replace antennas that have given tv reception problems in a period as little as 6 months.

Cheap cabling can often cause issues such as excessive signal loss, and breakage which can cause intermittent picture break-up.  We have been to many properties in Perth where cabling has been installed that does not conform to Australian standards, is unsafe and has the propensity to start a fire.  Master Builders WA and ACMA have warned against unsafe products which are currently installed in thousands of homes around Perth and Australia.

Qualifications – Individuals who are operating without the licences required by law can offer their services at cheaper prices.  Businesses providing cheaper prices than average may not be suitably qualified to carry out the installation work, may be using foreign workers on 457 Visas with little knowledge of Australian standards and work practices, and have a lack of any Public Liability or Professional Indemnity insurance.  Ask to see copies of public liability insurance to the amount of $20 million, certificate/diploma in Telecommunications, White card, a valid ABN, open cablers licence with a “C” endorsement and a website for the confidence of an established business.

Workmanship – The interesting thing about being a good antenna technician is that you got to have a reasonably good knowledge of basic electronics, you need pretty good building and construction skills, and you have to understand a little bit about RF signals.  These skills often take years of time and money to master, and part of the cost covers the implementation of these skills to your installation.  Cutting corners and not applying best practices can lead to an aesthetically unpleasant looking end product or a poorly installed antenna that can break away and cause damage to the house.

Customer Service – This relates to the dealings and communications you have with your installer before, during and after the service.  Quite a substantial amount of effort is required to answer questions and customer concerns before the job is to be done and following specific instructions.  The support you receive over your warranty period is important in ensuring any problems are dealt with quickly and efficiently and questions answered promptly.  Businesses operating on small profit margins do not have the resources to provide good after sales support, 3-word email replies can be quite displeasing.

How does a cheap antenna installation look like?

We often get called in to rectify problems caused by some of these installations, as well as repair the damage caused.
Below are some examples of rushed, dangerous and illegal jobs:

This is a TV antenna in Mandurah that had corroded so badly within 6 months that it was barely passing any signal to the TV outlets.  Notice the green corrosion buildup on the board.  The cost to rectify this issue was double the original installation cost.  Poorly built TV antennas, will quickly degrade especially when used around coastal areas.  We only use and recommend high quality Hills TV antennas for areas such as Fremantle, Dawesville and Rockingham.

We were called out to install a TV antenna at a neighbouring house to the one pictured above.

Quickly we were alerted by this shocking cabling installation.  The coax cable has been ran into the roof by running it down the pole which has no shielding from the rain.  Eventually rain will enter through the top of the pole and be led inside the house by the cable causing water damage.

We are unsure whether this was simply overlooked, caused by negligent work practices.

This one takes the cake – After this antenna had been poorly wired to the roof, we found that the previous installer had attempted to jam blocks of wood under the base in order to increase stability.  The brickwork had fatigued and the upper part of the chimney had partially broken away from the house.

The problems did not end here.  The Anchor points for the guy wires had corroded due to poor waterproofing and being made out of a cheap material and the entire cabling system inside the roof had poor terminations and tell-tale signs of dodgy workmanship.

While a cheap price may appear like a bargain, the damage caused by poor installations will cost more to fix in the long term, therefore these installations are never good value.